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Comparative life-history traits in a fig wasp community: implications for community structure

Ghara, Mahua and Borges, Renee Maria (2010) Comparative life-history traits in a fig wasp community: implications for community structure. In: Ecological Entomology, 35 (2). pp. 139-148.

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Official URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/1232657...

Abstract

1. Whether life-history traits can determine community composition and structure is an important question that has been well explored theoretically, but has received scant empirical attention. Life-history traits of a seven-member community of galler and parasitoid fig wasp species (Chalcidoidea), developing within the inflorescences (syconia) of Ficus racemosa (Moraceae) in India, were determined and used to examine community structure and ecology. 2. Gallers were pro-ovigenic (all eggs are mature upon adult emergence) whereas parasitoids were synovigenic (eggs mature progressively during adult lifespan). Initial egg load was correlated with body size for some species, and there was a trade-off between egg number and egg size across all species. Although all species completed their development and left the syconium concurrently, they differed in their adult and pre-adult lifespans. Providing sucrose solutions increased parasitoid lifespan but had no effect on the longevity of some galler species. While feeding regimes and body size affected longevity in most species, an interaction effect between these variables was detected for only one species. 3. Life-history traits of wasp species exhibited a continuum in relation to their arrival sequence at syconia for oviposition during syconium development, and therefore reflected their ecology. The largest number of eggs, smallest egg sizes, and shortest longevities were characteristic of the earliest-arriving galling wasps at the smallest, immature syconia; the converse characterised the later-arriving parasitoids at the larger, already parasitised syconia. Thus life history is an important correlate of community resource partitioning and can be used to understand community structure. 4. This is the first comprehensive study of life-history traits in a fig wasp community. The comparative approach revealed constraints and flexibility in trait evolution.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to John Wiley and Sons.
Keywords: Agaonid; galler; host window; inquiline; lifespan; non-pollinating fig wasps; ovigeny; parasitoid; survivorship curves
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2010 11:54
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2010 11:54
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/26403

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